Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

The Productivity of Small Animal Species in Small-scale Mixed Farming Systems in Subtropical Bolivia

  • R.T. Paterson
  • N. Joaquín
  • K. Chamón
  • E. Palomino
Article

Abstract

The productivity of the scavenging, small animal species (chickens, ducks, pigs, hair sheep and guinea-pigs) commonly found on small-scale farms at the forest margin in subtropical Bolivia was monitored over a full year. Chickens and guinea-pigs were kept mainly for home consumption, while ducks and pigs were kept mainly for sale. Sheep served both purposes, depending upon the family requirements. In the absence of veterinary treatment, the productivity varied greatly between farms. Pigs gave the greatest gross return, but received the largest amount of supplementary feed. Under the existing system, chickens, ducks and sheep all gave similar gross returns per breeding female, although chickens produced good returns and made a large contribution to the family diet where the reproductive efficiency was high and the chick mortality was low. Mortality resulting from disease was a major problem in poultry, while internal parasites appeared to be important limiting factors in pigs and sheep. Guinea-pigs showed no major problems apart from theft, and were an important dietary component for immigrant families from the highlands of the country. Small animal species have largely been ignored by agricultural research and development activities in Bolivia and elsewhere. They currently make significant contributions to the livelihoods of poor people in terms of both income and food security, and this could be greatly increased by simple improvements in animal husbandry.

chicken duck economics guinea-pig gross returns husbandry pig productivity sheep smallholder 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.T. Paterson
    • 1
  • N. Joaquín
    • 2
  • K. Chamón
    • 2
  • E. Palomino
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Chatham MaritimeKentUK
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Agrícola Tropical (CIAT)Santa CruzBolivia

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